Foster parents are an integral part of successful rescues, especially dog rescue organizations dealing mainly with bully breed dogs like Pit Bulls, American Bulldogs and Mastiffs. Many first-time dog owners are weary of adopting Pitbulls and bully breed dogs directly from shelters, so foster programs can be a great way for potential owners to get to know a dog before adopting. Foster parents know the ins-and-outs of each and every dog and are able to give prospective owners a good idea of what to expect with regard to personality, activity level, play style and compatibility with other animals. Without the support and presence of foster parents, most of the dogs that would otherwise find homes will end up stuck in a shelter, or not finding a home at all.
What would my responsibilities be as a foster parent?
- To provide a secure environment.
This involves everything from strong fencing, to supervision other dogs, pets and children. Pits are notorious escape artists and will be quick to let you know if you do not have adequate fencing in place in your yard. It is always best to keep your dogs inside your home or within a dog run when you are not present, and always remember to separate your foster from any other pets you may have.
- To provide daily care.
Your foster has the same needs of your other pets, and rescues will help foster parents with food costs and medical treatments that are necessary for the dog while in your care. You will be responsible for accessories such as leashes, bowls, treats and toys, as most rescues budget’s do not allow for the purchase of such items.
- To provide a good balance of love and discipline.
Most dogs are returned to shelters because they were lacking in adequate attention, training, discipline and socialization in their early months. As a foster home, you have the chance to teach this dog just what love is all about, in the form of grooming, play, and petting, as well as fair, consistent training and discipline. There really is no better feeling than bringing a dog home to a yard when he has been cooped up in a kennel for months.
- To allow prospective adopters meet the foster dog.
When your rescue thinks they have found a potential adopter, they will work with you to arrange a meet-and-greet. Oftentimes fosters play an integral role in the placement of the dog, and they will solicit your input to help match up the best possible family with your foster dog. If upon meeting a potential adopter you have reservations, go with your instinct and wait for another adopter to come along, there is nothing worse than placing a dog for a few weeks that has to be returned due to ill-prepared owners.
- To provide feedback.
Your role is to provide truthful and complete information about the dog including how they are adjusting to their new environment, any signs of aggression, physical well-being, temperament, etc. You can provide feedback in a number of ways depending on how your particular rescue works. Many animal rescues will have websites on which they post their available dogs along with information provided by fosters. Attending rescue-sponsored adoption events is also a good way to let the public know about the dog you are fostering and the type of home he would be suited for. Many foster parents also use free online classified sites, like Craigslist, to showcase their foster and look for a potential match.